Balance… can you have it? Lately, every time I bring up the topic people say there isn’t such a thing. I sat on that for a while but don’t believe it’s true. What I do find true is that there is no 50/50 balance, but I do believe we can search for a balance in life that fits our needs. What your balance looks like week by week, or even some days, may vary but it is possible to find a balance that works for ourselves.
It’s funny I’m writing about this now because balanced is not how I would describe my life lately. These past two weeks, maybe 4, have been insane. I think it was when I lost daycare (4 weeks ago) when it started, but I didn’t start to feel the physical effects of the stress until about 2 weeks ago. No daycare, working PT, friends and family commitments, cleaning the house, running errands, late nights fitting in work, and of course things that don’t go as planned… the list goes on and on. I think the biggest thing that started to run me down, was thinking about everything that I wasn’t getting done in every moment. Slowly but surely I started feeling overwhelmed and it didn’t feel like I was ever going to get a chance to come up for air. I was so drained that I was mean mugging nice people at target, crying when I realized that I did it, and then came home and ignored my fiance because I was insanely worried that he might think I was crazy… because that’s how I felt. There wasn’t one thing alone that was the worst thing in the world, I actually had a ton of good things going on, but living just beyond my emotional and mental capacity on a daily basis caused a ton of stress. Eventually, that stress took a huge toll on how I felt. Full disclosure, I had a few personal issues that I believe played a part in my hormones being out of wack, and that combined with everything else was a recipe for disaster. Whatever it came from, I started feeling constantly irritable, disconnected from the people I cared about, I would cry at the drop of a dime, my stomach was constantly hurting, my neck and back pain was worse then usual, and because of all of that… I wasn’t sleeping well either! If you’ve ever heard me talk before, you know how important I think nutrition, exercise, nature, and sleep are for your mind and body… well I wasn’t taking care of any of that. I got to the point where I didn’t think I could. I was too tired to exercise or get outside, but then lack of sleep had me craving bad foods too. So that’s where I was at, and that was just yesterday.
The reason I’m writing this post today, is because I went to bed early last night. I know that doesn’t solve everything but for me and everything I talked about just now, it’s what I identified as the first step I needed to take to get back to balance; my balance. There are so many other things going on that I can’t change but I can give myself the energy I need to deal with them, so that’s where I started.
Now that I had the energy to think, I had to find balance for me today. I don’t think you ever need to start fresh to identify what you need. You just have to be aware and know yourself. A great oldy but goody trick to becoming more aware is to track things in a notebook. For example:
- To identify foods that make you feel good or not, try eliminating a lot of things from your diet. As you add them back in, write down how they make you feel.
- To identify how much sleep you need, you can start a sleep journal. Track what time you go to sleep and how many hours you get. Both can have an affect on how you feel the next day. I need lots of sleep, I wish I were the energizer bunny like some folks who run well on 5 hours but it’s just not so for me.
- To identify what being outdoors for you does, start a journal… you are starting to see a trend I’m sure.
- To identify how exercise makes you feel, yep, you guessed it. Start a journal.
These are just examples of things you can track. It is a little excessive to think you would keep a journal for everything so just start where you feel the least connected. It helps you be more aware, and the more aware you are the more control you have. I like to use my phone for everything so it’s all in one place. Eating as been a hard journey for me since I had my son, so I recently started using my fitness pal. The point is, you are tracking it, whatever you chose to use.
Another tip to finding your balance, is to find someone you trust to talk to. Talking through things is a great way to discover yourself. It’s also nice to have someone else tell you what you can’t or don’t want to see that you need. I recently spoke with my life coach who told me “You can’t work (most of my work is on a laptop), while you’re with your son. It needs too much mental attention, it’s just not possible. You need day care or distraction free time.” I understand how simple that is, but hearing it from her made it so I allowed myself to do what I needed to do to get my work done. It was an ah-ha moment for me, and she made it OK for me to accept it somehow.
I believe that what you need, is typically right in front of your face. There are a lot of things you just can’t change, like obstacles life throws at you, but you can make sure you have the energy you need to deal with them. For things that you can change or work with, you need to know what they are before you can change them. Like the working while I had Asher. I knew I was stressed by trying to get my work done. I felt like I was thinking about work when I was with him, and thinking about him when I was working. However, it wasn’t until Catherine and I identified the real issue that I could start to solve it.
Have you read any of Brene Brown’s books? If you are reading our blog and enjoy it, you MUST read some of her books. She has so much to share that helps me in every day life. In her book, “The Gift of Imperfection”, she talks about vulnerability. I really believe getting to your balance, comes with letting go of the idea that you can do everything, in every phase of life. Sometimes, you need to let go of the idea that you’ll let others down; even if you are not perfect and/or superhuman. I know this isn’t what we tell ourselves verbatim but our expectations of ourselves say otherwise. Be real with yourself on what you can do, and don’t forget the core of it all is nutrition, exercise, nature, and sleep. I found even when it came to sharing with Joe, my fiance, how I felt, I was worried he would think I was crazy… well A. his thoughts are none of my business and B. sharing with him is one of the steps that got me finding a way out of this hole. Vulnerability is freeing; scary, but freeing. So whatever it may look like, when you find yourself out of balance – be vulnerable with yourself or someone else, it might just give you the clarity you need to get out of the rut you are in.
The last thing I would recommend is just saying F* it one day. If everything is piling up, sometimes slowing down to speed up is exactly what you need. Do the things that relieve the most stress, what do you enjoy doing or having be done the most? After all, that is what B : is all about! That’s where I am today. I’m writing this blog because I want to, Asher and I are staying in our PJ’s until we go to the gym, where I’ll get the much needed workout I have been really wanting to do. I think I’m going to bake a pie tonight and I’ll probably get overdue cleaning done so when I lite my candles, I can relax and watch “This is us” with my amazing fiance, who needs my time too. I’m going to let the day happen how it will, and I’ll get back to getting everything done on my list tomorrow. I need today or I might lose it. It’s OK though because I know if I do this, check back in and B : in the moment, I’ll have the energy I need to weather life, live out my passions and dreams, and be the best mom and fiance I can be.
So here I am, not quite perfectly balanced this week but ready and prepared to B : kind to myself and get done what I can. My balance this week probably doesn’t include everything I want it to but that’s OK. There’s only one of me and the world will go on. When I am in my state of balance, I am better able to B : in the moment and B : myself. It’s when I capture the best moments with my son, feel closest to Joe, and do my best at both my PT career and here at B : Those are the things that will propel me positively in life so I’ll hold on to that… until the next time I’m unbalanced but I’ll deal with that when it gets here.
Do you have any tips or tricks to finding your balance? Share below or send us a message. Every day is a new day and challenge, new ideas are so helpful in getting through the down times quicker and back to ourselves! I can’t wait to hear your ideas!
Photo credit: window with book by Sarah Foss
Photo Credit: Family photography by Courtney Hess